Online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon might be the first step many small businesses take on their online retail journey, but that doesn’t mean the scale of the opportunity isn’t significant.

According to a recent report in Internet Retailing, the UK is home to approximately 882,000 businesses selling on online marketplaces, turning over a staggering £282bn a year. That’s the equivalent of 6% of all UK business turnover, and that figure is set to grow.

Online Marketplaces: A Growth Industry

The report suggests that revenues for companies selling on online marketplaces are growing at a rate of 9.4% a year, compared to just 7.4% growth enjoyed by other online sellers.

Much of this growth can be attributed to the global pandemic, with just 48% of retailers using online marketplaces in 2019, compared to 61% in 2022.

It’s perhaps because of this growth trajectory the online marketplace landscape continues to evolve. Challenger brands like OnBuy have entered the market, joining more established online sales venues like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy. There is also a growing number of niche marketplaces promoting specific verticals, including ManoMano (DIY), Decathlon (Sport), and the recently announced Superdrug (Health and Beauty).

How Do Businesses Benefit From Selling On Online Marketplaces?

Retail businesses cited several reasons for selling on online marketplaces. These included:

  • The ability to target customers that they couldn’t otherwise reach.
  • Simplifying the sales process by removing technology barriers.
  • Enhanced levels of consumer trust afforded by partnering with well-known marketplace brands.

In fact, businesses saw so much benefit from selling on online marketplaces that many saw no drawbacks or reasons preventing them from continuing to sell via these platforms.

The Importance Of Marketplace Optimisation In A Competitive Landscape

The extremely competitive landscape of the market is the only “fly in the ointment” to selling on online marketplaces, not suggested in the report. With nearly 900,000 businesses vying for attention on the marketplaces, you’ll struggle to find a niche that hasn’t already been filled. This means online retailers have to work hard to ensure their brand remains visible above the competition. Businesses that don’t take their time to optimise their marketplace strategies and ensure they are doing everything in their power to maximise customer engagement may see their sales fall off a cliff.

eBay, in particular, is becoming a more challenging marketplace to remain competitive if you don’t keep up with listing best practices. There’s also the question of whether businesses should invest in optimising their listings or pay for promoted listings (we suggest both).

It’s also important to remember that if a marketplace is also a retailer, like Amazon, that marketplace is also your competitor. In this respect, it’s also a good idea to use the marketplace to launch your business onto other channels.

Learn How Frooition Can Optimise Your Online Marketplace Experience

To learn more about how Frooition can help to optimise your online marketplace selling experience, including eBay listing design and optimisation and Amazon branding, schedule a free 15-minute discovery call with one of our online marketplace experts today.

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